Life sciences lost ground in Michigan, study says


    Kent County ranks sixth in the number of jobs in Michigan’s $9.34 billion life sciences industry, according to a University of Michigan report issued earlier this year.

    Commissioned by trade groups MichBio and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Associations and conducted by University of Michigan economists, the report stated that Michigan “has the assets” to support a biosciences industry. But the industry is “losing ground,” and employment in the private side of the industry has dropped here since 2002. The state should improve its ability to nurture the life sciences economy, said the report, prepared by economists Abel Finkelstein, George A. Fulton and Donald R. Grimes.

    Michigan had 40,026 of the nation’s 1.26 million biosciences jobs in 2006. But, while national biosciences employment was rising from 1.2 million to 1.26 million between 2002 and 2007, Michigan’s employment in the sector dropped by 10.5 percent.

    The biosciences industry accounts for more than 7,000 jobs in Kent County, according to the report.

    Some 1,879 Kent County jobs were connected to private bioscience enterprises. Those jobs, plus spin-off employment, amounted to 6,900 jobs. Another 111 direct and spin-off jobs were attributed to non-private employers.

    Spin-off employment in Kent County created by bioscience research at Michigan State University added up to 48 in 2006, while University of Michigan research activities produced 19 spin-off jobs and Wayne State University research, four spin-off jobs, the study indicated. All other colleges and universities produced 40 direct and spin-off jobs in Kent County

    The combined payroll was more than $450 million.

    Allegan County ranked eighth and Ottawa County ranked ninth in biosciences jobs, the study stated.

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